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Mom is 81 and we had just decided that she move in with us because of failing mental ability (at times) and she isn't taking care of herself or her house. Dad died 6 years ago so she is alone in a big house. Well everything was moved up quickly! Yesterday she fell by her car and God knows how long she sat in 95 degree heat before her neighbor found her. She has a very bad sprained ankle and is in a fiberglass splint for 4-6 weeks. She is with me now and probably won't be going home again. How do I take over the hydeine problem. I was so embarassed when I saw how dirty she actually was. Her feet look like she hasn't washed them in months. Should I get the county nurse in her for a few weeks and use the excuse that she can't get the splint wet. I know she will be mortified if I approach the subject of her not taking care of herself. Any suggestions sor direction you can give me will be greatly appreciate. thanks Deb


3931 helpful answers
The bathing issue is very hard. My mother-in-law was mortified over a family member bathing her, so she did better with in-home care for that, before she entered a nursing home. Some people don't have a problem with it, and others do.

I'll never forget the first time I took my dad to the bathroom. I was so afraid he'd be embarrassed, but there was no choice. He was fine with it, and I eventually relaxed, since he was okay.

The last thing you want to do is imply that your mom hasn't been taking care of herself. She'll be defensive. So your idea of saying that she needs help because of the split is brilliant. Whether it's you helping her or hired help, that gives you a ready-made excuse. You can try to say, "You won't be able to keep that dry yourself, so I can help you." If she doesn't want that, then you can tell her "Then, medical people will have to - you can't get the splint wet." Hopefully, she'll cooperate.

Some elders become afraid of the shower, tub or even water. There may be more to her not bathing than just not feeling like it. But often, they just don't have the energy. You may find that, with tact on your part, she will be happy for the help.

Please let us know how you are doing.
How are things going for you
maybe if you call in outside help for a few times and then take over she will be better with it. my grandmother (in-law) has no problem with me giving her a shower but refuses to allow anyone else to do it. actually she won't allow anyone else do anything for her. i think that it is all in the trust she has with me.
don't call it a bath - reminisce about you & siblings as babies and how she used to bathe you as a new mom, joking alot helps. try a with a neck/shoulder massage.....then you can ease into a spongebath with a warm towel & norinse cleaner. For her feet - just do a foot soak with some very gentle cleaner....once she trusts you and feels better then it won't be as hard for her (you - well its how you feel about the time & effort)

good luck. My mom was and continues to be bath adverse, but I have found it's all how you approach it that gets it done and keeps you sane.
3931 helpful answers
Great advice, Cat. The slow way into it helps a lot. Often, they are afraid of the water or the drain or whatever, but often it's modesty or else they just don't want anyone touching them. You've got it right that the approach is all important, and it sometimes takes some experimenting.

Also - I guess we have to learn that they may not smell freshly bathed all the time. Sometimes you can get the feet. Then, the hair. A sponge bath (if you're lucky) for their privates. But slow is the magic word. It shows that you've done it. That's why people love this site. Experience counts.

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